Orange names Christel Heydemann new CEO

Jan. 31, 2022
Current Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard will retain the CEO title until Heydemann joins Orange. Richard will serve as non-executive chairman until a new chairman is in place or until May 19, 2022, the date of Orange’s Annual General Meeting.

The board of directors of French telecom giant Orange named Christel Heydemann CEO, effective April 4, 2022. Heydemann will step into the CEO’s role at Orange after serving most recently as Schneider Electric’s executive vice president, Europe operations.

Current Chairman and CEO Stéphane Richard will retain the CEO title until Heydemann joins Orange. Richard will serve as non-executive chairman until a new chairman is in place or until May 19, 2022, the date of Orange’s Annual General Meeting, whichever comes first. The personnel moves come as the Orange board had decided to split the chairman and CEO roles among two people. Richard had led Orange for 12 years.

Heydemann began her career in 1997 at Boston Consulting Group. She moved to Alcatel in 1999, where she held several roles within the timeframe in which the company merged with Lucent. In 2011, she was appointed to Alcatel-Lucent’s Executive Committee as director of human resources and transformation. She joined Schneider Electric in 2014 as the director of strategic alliances; in April 2017 she was appointed executive vice president of Schneider Electric France and subsequently executive vice president, Europe Operations in May 2021.

“I am delighted to welcome Christel Heydemann and wish her full success as CEO of Orange,” Richard stated. “Working alongside the group’s employees, I am convinced that her personal and professional qualities will enable her to meet the challenges the future holds for the group. Christel’s involvement as a board member and her long experience at Alcatel and then Schneider Electric means she has an excellent understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the digital future and the critical role this will play in the decades ahead. I am certain that her vision, her pragmatism, and her ability to bring out the best in every situation will be of enormous value to Orange. Finally, I would also like to thank Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner and Bernard Ramanantsoa for their exemplary and rigorous work throughout the selection process in the best interests of the group.”

“I would like to thank the Board members for their confidence,” added Heydemann. “As a member of the board [at Schneider] for nearly five years, I have gained a solid understanding of the technological challenges and opportunities that lie before us. I know that these are significant, but it is equally a huge honor to be able to contribute to the development of one of the leading players in our industry and Orange will have my total commitment as we set about this task. I also know I can count, as my predecessor has been able to, on the dedication of all the company’s teams to see Orange through to success.”

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